Friday, August 26, 2011

Update: Chicken Little

Buff Orphington on Windfield Acre

This is an update to our post, "Chicken Little." In that post I showed concern that one of our Buff's were a rooster, not a hen, which was a concern here in the city. In that post I said:

"I will keep you up to date, but we have a Buff Orphington that is growing a larger comb and waddle than all the other chickens. If this is the case I will be making a decision. First we wait until the first crow to truly find out."

Well, it is NOT so! Yay! Gen thought that the Buff may be brooding, so we were hopeful that it was a hen. It also didn't have the feathers of a rooster. Well, she was not brooding, but the was laying an egg for us. We are so happy that every single chicken turned out to be hens.
Buff Orphington on Windfield Acre

We are still 2 weeks ahead of schedule for the hens to lay eggs, but we now have three (i believe) producing. Our Araucana is laying almost consistently double yoked eggs. The last one was SOOO BIG that we couldn't shut the egg carton. Poor girl, must have gotten hurt on that one.
Photo: Egg Comparison taken on cell phone.

I have been bagging the majority of the grass that I have been mowing in the yard each week because bugs come with it. I dump at least 3-4 bags of grass in the pen each time I mow. Grass fed chickens are healthier and happier. This means that our eggs are richer and healthier.

They flock to us now when we feed them worms (we have a meal worm garden... another post perhaps). Most of them will let us pick them up, except the roosterhen. She tries to peck at us if we do, but she is letting us get pretty close.

All of the eggs started off small and got bigger. So if you get small eggs at first, don't worry, you will get more egg for your buck soon enough. That's enough posting for one day.

Later Urbanites!!!Link

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Worm Farm

We love to have happy chickens almost as much as we love to have healthy chickens. They produce more quantity and quality eggs this way. One aspect of that is giving them meal worms to eat. The chickies love the meal worms.

Meal worms get pretty expensive though. How do we correct this? Grow our own! We had a friend give us some for a starter and we have them in wheat germ instead of dirt. about once a week or so, we have to give them another potato, cut in half, for food.

I never saw this until just now, but there is a website that tells you how to grow mealworms right here at

The worms grow into beetles, which lay more worms. Then the worms eat the beetles and potatoes. As long as we keep them stocked with germ and potatoes, they will thrive and grow in number.

When we want to give them to the chickens, we take a small cup of worms (wheat germ and all) out to them. Then we replace the cup with a cup of clean germ. Then they keep their numbers up.

The only problem is to how much we are going to need to self sustain for us to give them to chickens and ducks every day.

Later Urbanites!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thumper has no more ear mites!

I have posted to you guys about our rabbits already. Thumper (male) and Nibbles (female) came to us in poor shape. This was not at fault to the owners, they were just sick. Thumper had ear mites and neither rabbit would eat or drink much. after some TLC and lots of organic veggies from our garden, they are both eating, drinking and pooping just enough.

Thumpers ear mites were really bad. Sorry that I dont have a picture of that, but I have one of his ears today. THE EAR MITES ARE NOW GONE. What did we do?

We did NOT use actual medication. We used coconut oil in an old dropper bottle. We placed it in his ear, which he did NOT like at all. Then we massaged it around all over his ear. After a couple of weeks, the mites were all gone. Yay!

Photo: Ear Mites Gone (taken by cell phone)

Photo: Ear Mites Gone 2 (taken by cell phone)

Later Urbanites!

On the Urban Farm

Photo: Two Eggs in morning (taken by cell phone)

Ok, urbanites, for about a week or two now, we have had two of our chickens laying just shy of an egg a day. They are YUMMY! The children keep asking us for egg sandwiches, so we actually are not producing enough eggs yet. One of the eggs (off-white one) is from our dark colored Araucana and the brown one is from our buff, we think. So it seems that 2-3 hens would be a good amount to have for a family of four. Not to mention that the two that are producing are actually 3 weeks ahead of schedule! I have a feeling that production will increase.

The buff that we thought was a rooster in a previous post doesn't seem to be a rooster anymore. Alot of the other hens are starting to get combs and waddles just like her. I know people with roosters quite younger than our buff is and they are already crowing. Our buff is not.

We went for several days not thinking that the hens were producing. It turns out, when I opened the coop for cleaning that they had started laying their eggs in the far corner AWAY from the nesting boxes. We have began to place plastic eggs into the nesting boxes and our chickens keep kicking them out, lol.

This morning, I did have the araucana lay in the box and the buff lay in the corner. As I found on the BackYard Chickens Forum, I will start locking them up at night in the coop and let them out a little later. There doesn't seem to be much else I can do except ensure that the children stop lifting the lid to the nest boxes.

Only time will tell. Good news, we are now at a point that we are not buying eggs from store or other farmers anymore. Better news, we are going to be at a point of making money! It will be a while for that though.

Later Urbanites!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our New Zealand White Rabbits and PVC Hutch

Alright, so we have chickens, ducks, and a garden. The obvious next step is rabbits.

We just picked up two rabbits (New Zealand White), six cages, a small bag of feed and some medicine for one of the rabbits... all for just 10 dollars!!! This was given to us by a family in a facebook group called, "Alternamoms." The female (Nibbles) had a saggy bottom, and the male (Thumper) had ear mites. The medicine was for the ear mites. Wow, WHAT A DEAL!

First order of business, I built a hutch/cage stand out of 1 1/2 inch Schedule 40 PVC. This turned out to be pretty nice after I was finished. Check the video below to see the setup. The reason for PVC is that it would stay cleaner and would not be susceptible to rot or germ harboring. Cleaning consists of hosing it down.

Video: Rabbit Hutch (taken on cell phone). You must be able to watch You Tube Videos.

This PVC hutch was the result of a modification that I made to someone else's design. I found his design on I hang my rabbit cages from 1/2 inch conduit.

Second order of business is this dang heat! It has been in the hundreds here, so I have been forced to learn about how rabbits cope with the heat (that is they don't at all). I have learned to place their treats in the freezer, place tile below them (which has the double purpose of allowing their feet to rest off of the cage bottom), and fill soda bottles in the freezer to place in cages where the rabbits will lean against it and keep cool. Their ears are their most efficient method for cooling off. Some people spritz cool water on them, but this is a risky means to cool them off. When we first got them, we were a little shaken, because the male was a little lethargic, however he has recovered with a little of our TLC. His ear mites are biting the dust as well.

The rabbits that we have are going to be the mating pair, since they are too old to provide meant anyways. Their children will be the meat producers, unless we choose to generate another mating pair. My ultimate goal in any of our productions is to have too much available, so we can either make some extra cash off of them or to help others. I know that we will be able to use their hide, but I am not sure what for yet. Hope today was informative.

Later Urbanites!